This collection of 16 articles represents a selection of the papers delivered in the course of a seminar (1995-1996) at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and its concluding joint symposium held at the Institute and Princeton University.
Wide-ranging in scope, the volume covers messianic expectations from biblical times up to modern and contemporaneous adaptations, whereby the focus lies on the messianic concept within Judaism: diversity and variety of messianic expectations in antiquity; messianic movements at the time of the Crusades and around the fifth millennium (1240); the 'Pseudo'-Messiah Sabbatai Avi in the early modern period; the philosophers Hermann Cohen, Franz Rosenzweig and Walter Benjamin with respect to their thinking about messianism as well as the Lubavitch movement.
Also included are investigations on pagan Graeco-Roman writings and messianic strands in the medieval and baroque Christian context. The section on the modern period contains contributions dealing with the Ahmaddiyya movement in India, messianic currents in the socio-political culture of the Weimar Republic as well as certain messianic aspects in the very recent so-called Branch Davidian community in Waco, Texas. The broad spectrum of stimulating analyses provides a fresh re-evaluation of an apparently timeless phenomenon.
Peter Schäfer, Dr.Phil. (1968) in Jewish Studies, Habilitation 1973, is Professor of Jewish Studies and Director of the Institut für Judaistik at the Freie Universität Berlin. He has published extensively on Jewish literature and history in late antiquity and on early Jewish mysticism. Among his most recent books are
Envisioning Magic. A Princeton Seminar and Symposium (Brill, 1997) (with Hans Kippenberg) and
Magische Texte aus der Kairoer Geniza, vol. II (Mohr-Siebeck, 1997) (with Shaul Shaked).
Mark R. Cohen, Ph.D. (1976) in Jewish History, is Professor of Near Eastern Studies and past Director of the Program in Jewish Studies at Princeton University. He has published widely on Jewish life under medieval Islam and on Jewish-Muslim relations. His books include
Under Crescent and Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages (
Princeton University Press, 1994) and
The Autobiography of a Seventeenth-Century Venetian Rabbi: Leon Modena's 'Life of Judah' (
Princeton University Press, 1988).
...a panoramic sampling of the many messianic configurations and constellations…engaging threads and themes.'
Stephen L. Cook,
Review of Biblical Literature, 2000.
...we must be grateful to the editors for putting together an excellent and fascinating collection of essays.'
John J. Collins,
The Journal of Religion, 2001.